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Parties urged to support Assembly name change

Plaid Cymru is urging other parties to support its bid to rename the Assembly as 'the National Parliament of Wales.'

Plaid has tabled an amendment to the Wales Bill, which is being debated by MPs and which would introduce financial powers and other changes.

Plaid Cymru's Parliamentary Leader Elfyn Llwyd, who is behind the amendment, describes the proposal as 'common sense.'

This amendment, if passed, would enforce a simple change - that the Assembly be officially named the National Parliament of Wales.

The Wales Bill already makes provision for officially changing the name of the Welsh Assembly Government to the Welsh Government. It is only right and proper that the institution's name also reflects its status as a full law-making body, as it has been since the 2011 referendum on further powers.

The leaders of other parties in Wales have already spoken in favour of this change. We hope that our straightforward and common sense amendment attracts them and their parties' support.

– Elfyn Llwyd MP, Plaid Cymru

Assembly named in top 50 employers of women in UK

The National Assembly for Wales has been named as one of the top 50 employers of women in the UK by The Times newspaper.

The awards recognise the work carried out by organisations that help women balance their work and family lives.

The National Assembly for Wales features in The Times Top 50 Employers for Women in the UK list. Credit: David Davies/PA

Presiding officer, Dame Rosemary Butler AM, said: "Women make up more than half of the population so we need a balanced workforce to reflect that. A more balanced workforce allows wider ideas and views to feed into the the workplace and, i believe, produces better results.

"The assembly has a proud record in providing all staff with opportunities to strike a better work-life balance and deserves this recognition."

The assembly has been recognised for providing a range of flexible working options including term-time working, part-time working, compressed hours and working from home.

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  1. Adrian Masters

Ministers try to meet concerns of smacking ban supporters

It seems the Welsh Government is trying to meet the concerns of supporters of a smacking ban but it may not be enough to stop them voting for one later. Welsh Lib Dem leader Kirsty Williams says she thinks ministers will offer 'another opportunity' to vote on the issue as part of another bill.

She thought that would mean the matter was unlikely to pushed to a vote. But other sources suggest the offer of 'another opportunity' isn't definite enough to win over Plaid and Lib Dem members who are backing an amendment to the Social Services and Well Being Bill.

If it does come to a vote, the amendment is unlikely to win because I understand Labour AMs will be obliged by the Chief Whip to vote against. It's still unclear whether or not at least two Labour AMs will rebel, but the majority will still be enough to defeat it.

  1. Adrian Masters

AMs make up their mind on smacking ban

Supporters of a smacking ban say that if Assembly Members back an amendment to the Social Services and Well Being Bill, it will effectively introduce a ban into Welsh law. Welsh Ministers are opposed to using the Bill as a backdoor means of introducing a ban.

That means Labour AMs will be expected to vote against it which forces Labour supporters of a ban to make a difficult decision. One of those, Julie Morgan, told me on last night's Sharp End that she would wait to hear what the minister says before deciding whether or not to rebel.

Welsh Liberal Democrats have a free vote. One senior AM, Peter Black, told me he'd be supporting the amendment which he pointed out doesn't actually introduce a ban, but simply removes a defence of 'reasonable punishment.' I'll report back on how other parties and AMs are likely to vote.

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Assembly pays tribute to Nelson Mandela

Senedd flags at half mast for Nelson Mandela Credit: ITV News, Adrian Masters

Assembly Members will observe a minute's silence in the Senedd and be given time to pay tributes to Nelson Mandela. The Assembly's plenary session will begin earlier than usual in order to accomodate the tribute session. MPs paid their tributes in the Commons on Monday.

Flags outside the Senedd will again be flown at half mast and a book of condolence has also been opened for AMs and members of the public to record their own tributes.

Nelson Mandela Book of Condolence, Senedd Credit: National Assembly for Wales
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